HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Preferred flour for fresh pasta?

Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 03:06 PM

What type of flour is preferred for making fresh pasta? Should I use different types depending on whether I use egg or water? I experimented the other day using AP flour and egg. I over kneaded the dough and it came out tough. Next time I want to have the proper inngredients on hand. Thanks for helping out a pasta newbie!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. eLizard RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 03:47 PM

    semolina definitely. it is a durum product.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eLizard
      James Hogue RE: eLizard Jan 9, 2011 02:05 PM

      I allways abide by this rule:
      Use fresh pasta if your sauce is butter based.
      Use quality dried pasta if your sauce is olive oil based.

    2. b
      ben61820 RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 04:05 PM

      well, yes, semolina does inpart a nice flavor, but it is a bit courser in texture than 'regular' wheat flour and that will be reflected in your finished product. i have to say tho, that i really really really do NOT think that you overkneaded your pasta. in our restaurant we knead our fresh pasta for nearly 30 minutes in a 50-qt(!) mixer. you could not even come close to this in your home, with your hands. besides, there really could not be overkneading with pasta (UNLESS we're talking about some gnocchi with maybe a potato, etc. ingredient, where said ingredient CAN be overworked) as you are looking for maximum gluten production. even more so with semolina as an ingredient as semolina has to be worked even a little bit more than regular wheat flours to produce the same amount of gluten.

      in anycase, in Italy, many times bakers use what is called 'double 00' (those are zeroes but in english its usually called 'double oh'). this label refers to the fineness of the grind of said flour tho, NOT to the protein content of that flour. so you might have a low protein flour (which would produce less gluten) that is still labelled as double 00. at the same time you could have a nice hard winter wheat high-protein flour labelled as double 00 that would be excellent for making pasta.

      longwinded? sorry. i am kind of a foodgeek. at the end of the day tho, i REALLY think in this country, most any AP (all purpose) flour would produce a completely excellent pasta. toss a little semolina in there, too, yes! but do not worry about overworking it. work it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ben61820
        Cpt Wafer RE: ben61820 Dec 10, 2006 03:34 AM

        >sorry. i am kind of a foodgeek.

        Foodgeeks make the world go 'round.

      2. Becca Porter RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 04:25 PM

        I prefer AP for basic pasta. Kneading enough makes a huge difference. I knead for 30 seconds in my food processer, about 5 minutes by hand, and then after an hours rest, I knead it 3-4 times with the one setting on my Atlas.

        One other big secret, is that I find number 6-7 is as high as I want to go on my Atlas. Any higher and it gets too mushy. I definately prefer mine with some bite to it. This is about the same texture as dried pasta, only with the fresh pasta's amazing absorbability. (Is that a word?)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Becca Porter
          Maxmillion RE: Becca Porter Dec 9, 2006 04:57 PM

          I think the term you are searching for might be "absorption rate"

          1. re: Becca Porter
            Cpt Wafer RE: Becca Porter Dec 10, 2006 03:37 AM

            >Is that a word?

            Yes indeed.


            1. re: Cpt Wafer
              Becca Porter RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 11, 2006 03:54 PM

              Thanks ;).

          2. JoanN RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 04:26 PM

            I always use AP flour for my pasta and have never had it turn out "tough." And I hand knead for a minimum of eight minutes. I agree with ben6182 that it's unlikely overkneading was your problem. Perhaps the proportion of flour to egg was off? I use a proportion of 3 large eggs to 2 cups of flour, but that can easily vary depending on the humidity as well as just how much flour the eggs can absorb.

            As a newbie, it may well be that you used more flour than necessary. After mixing the egg and flour, and before kneading, you should be able to press your thumb into the ball of dough and have it come out clean. Stop adding flour as soon as your dough has reached that point.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoanN
              coll RE: JoanN Dec 9, 2006 07:15 PM

              I use 4 eggs, and 2 cups semolina, then I add lots of flour as I knead.

            2. Maxmillion RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 04:45 PM

              To echo ben61820's (not at all longwinded) rec, there's a very interesting LA Times article on the Osteria La Buca site --


              that talks about how Mama Buca uses "00" flour for her heavenly pasta.

              To find the article, go to the site, then click on "History" then click on "Press" then pick the first article in the list on the lefthand side (latimes


              Interesting stuff. I expect this flour could be found at Surfas (here in LA) or at some Italian delis/grocery stores.

              1. Becca Porter RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 05:00 PM

                They sell it through the Baker's Catalog at King Arthur Flour.

                1. m
                  MikeG RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 9, 2006 07:12 PM

                  It depends on what you're looking for. Unlike so often here, fresh pasta in Italy isn't meant to be a homemade version of factory pasta, it's meant to be soft and smooth, not firm and chewy (chewy in a good way.) The ingredients, process and result are really quite different. If you prefer some sort of hybrid, you'll have to experiment a bit, but it sounds like you're looking for the "silky" variety rather than someting firmer.

                  In which case the common Italian commercial product for same is 00 flour made from soft wheat ("grano tenero"). (There's another version made for pizza, but even that seems generally to made with soft wheat and added gluten, rather than hard wheat. Hard winter isn't very widely used in Europe generally outside of bread bakeries.) Winter wheat is higher in gluten and I believe ash content, and mostly used for bread, where strong gluten development is desireable. In pasta, it's not. Durum, vastly preferred in factory pasta, is high in protein, but not so high in gluten content. If you want to use it at home, at least flour rather than semolina unless you either don't care about a smooth dough or are willing to work your mixer nigh unto death.

                  Soft wheat isn't uncommon here in the form of biscuit flour, which judging from your profile shouldn't be at all hard to find in your neck of the woods. It's not as finely milled as 00 (nor is all-purpose) but you can still make a smooth dough with it. Needless to say though, you don't want the self-rising variety. AP is fine, but I have to disagree with the poster who said you can't overwork it - that's very untrue in my experience. But a long rest before rolling and cutting will help a lot. What you want is a firm but not hard dough that doesn't pop back into shape too quickly if you stick your finger into it, and that doesn't pull to hard trying to "shrink up" when you put it through the rollers. That's problematic gluten development. If it's "hard" but doesn't pop back, you probably used too much flour as another poster mentioned.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MikeG
                    Cpt Wafer RE: MikeG Dec 10, 2006 03:49 AM

                    Biscuit flour. I'm on it.

                  2. Cpt Wafer RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 10, 2006 03:13 AM

                    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. Much food for thought here (pun may or may not have been intended). I made a small batch, one egg and slightly less than 1 cup flour, for my firsy try. I worked it for 30 minutes, adding some flour as I went, and rested it for 30. It was almost brick-like after the kneading. From the replies, I believe I added too much flour while kneading. Next time I'll knead less, rest more and use less flour. Oh, and yes, I'm looking for silky but with some tooth as well. Thanks all.

                    1. Karl S RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 11, 2006 03:58 PM

                      Yes, semolina is mostly to be used for factory-made dried pasta. For home pasta, lower gluten flour like "00" produces the more silken results. Among American all-purpose flours, a softer flour like White Lily rather than King Arthur would probably offer superior results.

                      1. s
                        Smokey RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 11, 2006 04:05 PM

                        I use AP flour, with a rough ratio of 3/4c flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp. water. Works well for me! When I've tried to use semolina flour, I have not been as happy with the results. However, my mom used AP flour when I was growing up (there weren't so many other options easily available in the '70's), and I think I like AP flour in part because it's what I grew up with.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Smokey
                          Katie Nell RE: Smokey Dec 11, 2006 04:37 PM

                          Doesn't Marcella say that semolina should only be used in the factories? I took a pasta making class with the chef at Lidia's restaurant here in KC and we used semolina for all the pastas, and I didn't like it nearly as well as the all AP my husband and I made a couple of weeks ago- it seemed a lot heavier... in fact, I am a major carb lover, esp. pasta, and I was so pasta-ed out by the end of the class, it wasn't even funny!

                          1. re: Katie Nell
                            Robert Lauriston RE: Katie Nell Dec 11, 2006 04:53 PM

                            Marcella Hazan's books generally call for all-purpose flour, because 00 wasn't available. Her recipe for tonnarelli, however, calls for durum flour (semolina).

                            1. re: Katie Nell
                              coll RE: Katie Nell Dec 11, 2006 07:11 PM

                              I've always used fine semolina, and if anything I find it too light. Thinking of subbing half 00 flour this time and seeing what the results are.

                              1. re: coll
                                Katie Nell RE: coll Dec 11, 2006 07:40 PM

                                I wouldn't consider what we used at the class to be "fine" semolina, but I could be wrong since I don't have a whole lot of experience with it.

                                1. re: Katie Nell
                                  coll RE: Katie Nell Dec 11, 2006 08:05 PM

                                  I get my semolina by the lb at the local raviloi store, they have regular or fine, maybe that's why mine is "fine",so to speak. I believe regular they said is for bread and fine is for pasta.

                              2. re: Katie Nell
                                cabojenn RE: Katie Nell Jan 4, 2011 03:43 PM

                                Marcella says 00 (doppio zero) is preferred as it is a "talcum-soft white flour" because it has a tad bit less gluten. If using AP, she suggests UN-bleached if possible.

                                As far as semolina she says it's the inly suitable flour for industrial (like you said); it's grainy and frustrating to work with in the home even when it is labeled as pasta flour. If you do use it, she adds you should NOT do it by hand, use a machine to roll it regardless of how fine milled it may be.

                                How was that for paraphrasing?

                            2. o
                              OldTimer RE: Cpt Wafer Dec 11, 2006 05:10 PM

                              I think pasta is more in the making and cooking than the ingredients. I use bread flour (high gluten), make in food processor, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 lg eggs. Take out before ball forms, wrap and refrigerate, re-knead in pasta machine. It take some practice to get it right. Biggest problem is dough too soft and sticky. Add water or flour to get right consistency in processor.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: OldTimer
                                Robert Lauriston RE: OldTimer Dec 11, 2006 05:59 PM

                                In my experience, the flour has a big effect on the texture of the pasta. Try making fettucine with 00, all-purpose, and durum, you'll see what I mean. (You have to adjust the proportion of flour to eggs, 00 is about 1 cup per egg, AP 3/4 cup, durum 2/3 cup.)

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  OldTimer RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 11, 2006 06:34 PM

                                  I guess there comes a time when one's taste buds are so insensitive to texture that it just doesn't matter. I've made fetuccini with all the combinations, and it all tastes good to me. Just lucky, I guess.

                                  1. re: OldTimer
                                    Robert Lauriston RE: OldTimer Dec 11, 2006 06:39 PM

                                    It's not the flavor so much as the texture that varies. Durum noodles are a lot chewier. That dough works better at tonnarelli than as fettucine, though.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      OldTimer RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 11, 2006 09:03 PM

                                      I'm not kicking a dead horse, Robert. I have great respect for your culinary opinions. I have found, over the years, however, that many newer cooks blame thier inadequate pasta on the ingredients, rather than the technique. I concede minor textural differnces in wheat mixture, but all in all, it is the mixing/rolling technique that matters, and the proper cooking, of course. I do not find in most restaurants fettuccini worth eating...so I never order it. In my opinion, however, it is the piece de resistance of any Italian meal...if done properly.

                                      1. re: OldTimer
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: OldTimer Dec 11, 2006 09:16 PM

                                        Quite true. I think 00 might be easier to work with and thus less frustrating for beginners.

                              2. u
                                uluro RE: Cpt Wafer May 1, 2008 10:23 AM

                                Have been making my own pasta for the last 50 years and use King Arthur All Purpose flour mixed with semolina. 3 parts all purpose to 1 part semolina works nicely. I now mix the dough in a stand mixer and have even used a Cuisinart on occasion, both with good results.
                                My mother used just all purpose flour and made terrific pasta. Some cooks become too fanatical about ingredients. Most pasta makers get the dough too wet, but more flour can always be kneaded in. Once the dough is mixed, let it rest covered under a bowl for 10 min or so.
                                I once hand cranked the pasta, but bought a small motor that fits most pasta machines. Don't give up on your pasta making. It's worth the time and effort; you can't beat the flavor of the real thing.

                                1. cassoulady RE: Cpt Wafer May 1, 2008 11:40 AM

                                  I recently used 00 flour and think it was my best batch of pasta yet.It is not a 100% fair test though because each time I make pasta I am becoming better at rolling it etc so it is always improving.

                                  1. s
                                    Smileelisa RE: Cpt Wafer May 1, 2008 11:48 AM

                                    Semolina and A/P flour. works the best. 3 parts A/P to 1 part semolina

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Smileelisa
                                      ios94 RE: Smileelisa Jan 4, 2011 09:00 AM

                                      Is it a big no-no to use the dough hook of your mixer to knead your pasta mixture (at a low setting)?

                                      Will there be a difference compared to hand kneading?


                                      1. re: ios94
                                        coll RE: ios94 Jan 4, 2011 09:27 AM

                                        I always use the dough hook, and then knead a little by hand too.

                                        1. re: ios94
                                          Karl S RE: ios94 Jan 4, 2011 10:30 AM

                                          Just be sure to use the speed specified by the manufacturer, or you might burn out the motor.

                                          1. re: ios94
                                            JoanN RE: ios94 Jan 4, 2011 10:37 AM

                                            The advantage to kneading by hand is that you learn to feel exactly when the dough is ready to be rolled out. Coll's suggestion is one way of dealing with that, but I find hand kneading takes less time than setting up and then cleaning the stand mixer, especially since I always make my dough using the hollow-in-the-mound-of-flour method.

                                          2. re: Smileelisa
                                            JuniorBalloon RE: Smileelisa Jan 4, 2011 12:52 PM

                                            I started with AP (King Arthur), but over the years have been adding more and more Semolina. I've never found 00 so have been buying Bob's Red Mill Semolina. It feels to be a fairly coarse grind. First time I tried using nothing but Semolina I ended up with a brick. Too much flour and not enough egg. At that time I went back to AP. Since that time I started mixing it in my Cuisinart with the dough blade. I don't measure ingredients any more. I add the wet ingredients, eggs. EVOO and a pinch of salt into the processor. Pulse it and then add approx half the flour. Pulse it again for a few seconds. Add in a quarter or so and pulse again. Continue adding a tblsp or so at a time and pulsing until it forms a ball. Dump this onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding a bit of flour whenever it feels sticky. Using this metthod helps keep me from getting into the "Too Much Flour" problem. This has allowed me to use more and more Semolina without making bricks. The Semolina deffintely gives the pasta a bit more tooth.


                                          3. Novelli RE: Cpt Wafer Jan 4, 2011 01:06 PM

                                            I use Molino Caputo tipo 00 for any pasta that requires an egg. Thats where you get the soft silky smooth texture from and that wonderful richness from the egg.

                                            If I make pasta without egg (wateronly), then I only use a fine semolina. I actually prefer this over the egg and 00 flour. What can I say, I like the rough texture like a cat's tongue!...not to mentioned it can be dried and used at a later date.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Novelli
                                              ios94 RE: Novelli Jan 5, 2011 06:29 AM

                                              Ah cool, that was my next question, is Tipo 00 flour a good substitute? Tipo & Semolina Flour together?

                                              1. re: ios94
                                                Novelli RE: ios94 Jan 5, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                tipo is my preferred flour for egg pasta. It's wonderfully fine and really nails the smooth textures of the north.

                                                You can absolutely mix tipo 00 and semolina. The textures are a little different, but that shouldn't detour you. It would still make some great pasta. I remember seeing a Lidia's Italy episode where she used both and it seemed to have worked out.

                                            2. w
                                              walker RE: Cpt Wafer Jan 5, 2011 11:09 AM

                                              I use 1/2 unbleached all purpose and 1/2 00. I've also used JFood's recipe that uses some semolina, also good. I use Hazan's recipe, just eggs and flour, no oil, no water. Always works for me.

                                              I just finished reading (got from library) Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, recipes and stories from Tuscany to Sicily by Jessica Theroux, 2010 date. I really enjoyed this book, want to make the pesto lasagna.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: walker
                                                Jay F RE: walker Jan 5, 2011 11:46 AM

                                                I read parts of ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS the other day at Borders. It looks like a must-have. I only had one 50% off coupon, though, and I really wanted Francoise Bernard's La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking, which I'm loving reading. I'm also reading the Vetri cookbook and some Giuliano Bugialli these days (Tuscany last night: beans, pasta). I'm going to make a Vetri pasta recipe soon.

                                                Also, I wish I could remember who was asking about making fresh spaghetti. I found a recipe for something "Montepulciano" IIRC, that's just flour and water, maybe salt. But no eggs. Someone was asking about it recently.

                                                1. re: Jay F
                                                  walker RE: Jay F Jan 5, 2011 06:06 PM

                                                  I have so many cookbooks and most I probably have not even made one recipe from. It's a very nice book - Italian Grandmothers - but I don't feel I need to own it. Got it from the library, read it all in 2 sittings. Do you own Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking? I don't regret buying that one.

                                                  There's a recipe in it called Filej with White Beans, red onion and raw tomato (in the Calabria section) , pasta is made with 2 cups very fine semolina flour or type 00 for pasta and
                                                  10 Tablespoons water (plus more if dough starts to dry out). You're supposed to knead for 20 min and then you roll it into ropes about 2" long and 1/4 inch diameter and twist it.

                                                  The book is pretty heavy...not my preference ...

                                                  1. re: walker
                                                    Jay F RE: walker Jan 5, 2011 07:20 PM

                                                    I have the first two Hazan cookbooks, which are what comprise "Essentials." They were two of my first cookbooks. I've never looked at that recipe before, but I will check it out.

                                                    1. re: Jay F
                                                      walker RE: Jay F Jan 5, 2011 08:16 PM

                                                      I guess I wasn't clear: the recipe "Filej" was in the Italian Grandmothers book, that's the one I think is heavy. I put in that recipe because it's a pasta that is just flour and water, no eggs.

                                                      I love Hazan's pasta recipe, it always works for me.

                                                      1. re: walker
                                                        coll RE: walker Jan 6, 2011 12:31 AM

                                                        What a coincidence, I just took the Italian Grandmother book out of the library and might not have gotten to it until I read these comments. Because I also took out Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, and As Always, Julia. Good thing they're predicting snow the next couple of days!

                                                        1. re: walker
                                                          Jay F RE: walker Jan 6, 2011 02:16 AM

                                                          Oh, that's funny. I thought the "j" was a typo, and you meant "files." "Filej" is a kind of pasta. Ooops.

                                                          Thanks, though. Now I must check out the Nonni book.

                                                          1. re: Jay F
                                                            walker RE: Jay F Jan 9, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                            Here's a reference I just found for "filej" from "My Calabria" (I'm waiting for this book from the library) This blog tells how to shape the pasta but not the pasta recipe.


                                                            1. re: walker
                                                              coll RE: walker Jan 9, 2011 01:54 PM

                                                              I was reading this book this afternoon and just got to Calabria! The filej is 2 cups fine semolina (or 00) and 10 Tbsp water.

                                                2. k
                                                  katieskitchen RE: Cpt Wafer Oct 2, 2013 01:02 PM

                                                  OK. I'm a totally new "newbie" to cooking fresh pasta, although I'm by no means a novice in the kitchen in general. I have a question I haven't seen addressed by all the admitted pros here. How about lightly toasting the AP flour before using? I just purchased an Atlas pasta machine and have only used it twice. I had no problem getting the consistency of the dough right both times, but the first batch had that raw flour flavor I hate. So I lightly toasted the flour the second time, and WOW. What a difference in taste! Any comments?

                                                  1. NonnieMuss RE: Cpt Wafer Oct 2, 2013 01:10 PM

                                                    I generally use 100% semolina - it makes it a little tough to knead, but I enjoy the flavor more than AP. I've started experimenting with "00", but it's really hard to find in my area, so I have to be sparing with what I have. (Actually carried four pounds of this fine white powder onto an international flight with no incident!).

                                                    1. e
                                                      escondido123 RE: Cpt Wafer Oct 2, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                      If I have it, I use one-third semolina and two-thirds AP for egg pasta. My pasta got so much better when I combined the semolina, eggs, salt and olive oil in the food processor first to create a slurry that then rests for about 5 minutes -- thus rehydrating the semolina. From there I add the AP in the FP until it forms a ball, then add a little more AP until it comes apart. Wait a minute, process again and it should come into a ball again. I let that rest on the counter wrapped in plastic for about an hour and then finish the kneading by running it though the pasta machine a couple times with a dusting of AP. Always comes out silky and easy to work with as well as tasing great.

                                                      1. iL Divo RE: Cpt Wafer Oct 14, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                        very helpful thread. my pasta is often just not right-too thick-too tough-falls apart in boiling water.

                                                        Show Hidden Posts